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Old 08-19-07, 09:30 AM   #1
jppe
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Where's the focus!!!

Yen's brick by brick post got me thinking. It seems the bricks in my walls may be falling down!!

Like many of you I really enjoy riding. However lately it seems my focus and the types of rides is taking a huge turn.

In June I sensed some burnout and fatigue after Mt Mitchell and some other Centuries so I intentionally backed off the harder riding and turned to my other hobby-golf. The golf game has gotten pretty good-in fact it is undoubtedly the best I've played in 40+ years-yeah!!!

However, the cycling performance indicators are continuing to spiral in a downward direction. I set a new PR in the Time Trials pre June but my recent times are the slowest in two years. I have not done a long organized ride since mid June.......that is a huge change from one a week pre-June!! The good news is that my weight as stayed down so the excellent nutritional habits have become a way of life. I'm just not as hungry for that faster time and improved performance over time as I've been in the past. I'm finding I'm enjoying the "lazy" easier paced rides more than the "don't stop and put forth all your effort" type of rides.

Grandfather Mountain looms in about 4 weeks. Right now I'm just not sure I'm in good enough shape to even tackle it. Four weeks before Mitchell I was in prime shape and worried I might peak too soon!! Obviously the next few weeks will dictate whether I even attempt Grandfather again this year. At best it would seem I'd be looking at it taking longer than I've ever done it-and probably suffer more than I ever have!!

I have signed up for a very hilly century in the NC mountains next weekend and it will be a good indicator of what kind of suffer fest I'm in for.

This is all new territory for me. I've always enjoyed having the focus and desire needed to continue to get a little better over time but right now for whatever reason it just ain't happening.

Maybe it's the continued hot weather, or the lingering emotions of moving my daughter across the US, my brother-in-law's diagnosis, lsing some of the novelty of cycling or all the above. Just don't know. I guess the next few weeks will tell.

Thanks for letting me share.........advice and others experiences is always welcome!!!
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Old 08-19-07, 10:51 AM   #2
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jppe, your focus may have shifted onto the other things in your life that you know are more important -- your brother-in-law, your daughter, other losses in your family. Don't be too hard on yourself during this time.... especially during this time, in light of those events. Unless you are someone who buries himself in other things to keep his mind off issues, then it seems that some loss of interest and focus is to be expected.
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Old 08-19-07, 10:57 AM   #3
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Oh, and it's normal to experience some loss in physical performance due to emotional stress. So again, don't be too hard on yourself during this time.
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Old 08-19-07, 11:02 AM   #4
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Maybe it's the continued hot weather, or the lingering emotions of moving my daughter across the US, my brother-in-law's diagnosis, lsing some of the novelty of cycling or all the above. Just don't know. I guess the next few weeks will tell.
Seems like you may be a tad over-extended physically and emotionally. A few days at the beach, a massage, a good book, re-runs of your favorite light comedy--any kind of easy-does-it downtime might be called for.
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Old 08-19-07, 11:07 AM   #5
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Unlike Lance, whose entire life was organized by himself and others just to "ride" (and even then he had cancer as an interruption), most of his have it different. Cycling is, after all, a recreational pursuit despite the attention we give it. Family, work, and a compleat life are not to be denied nor should be. Besides, passions, from marriage to cycling, come in waves. You may simply be drifting in need-to-ease-off time. I've always found more pleasure in returning to fitness than in simply maintaining it. If need be, take a vacation in Type B behavior for a while and take care of others and yourself. Your legs and lungs won't soon forget all the miles & climbs you've done...and may even thank you.

**When my daughter moved away, I spent a few (or more) evenings sitting in her empty room for a few important moments. Hang in there, jppe...lots of us are fathers and share.
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Old 08-19-07, 11:08 AM   #6
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OK Jppe, you're getting wound around the axle of implicit expectations with which you've burdened yourself. Listen to your descriptions: regarding cycling you say, "burnout and fatigue". . .regarding golf you say, "gotten pretty good. . .undoubtedly the best I've played in 40+ years-yeah", [bold mine]. There's absolutely no ambiguity here; your life has moved past cycling, at least for now.

Three things:

1. Go with the wisdom of these signs,

2. Cycling will always be there, and

3. "Forcing" yourself to focus on cycling will burn through that fuse.

Mind you, all this hooey of mine is predicated on your not having some medical stuff going on so do have a consideration 'bout that.

[I seem to be channeling Dr. Phil or maybe Wayne Dyer today. . .do forgive.]
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Old 08-19-07, 11:16 AM   #7
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[I seem to be channeling Dr. Phil or maybe Wayne Dyer today. . .do forgive.]
57 channels and nuthin' on...

Anyone know where that lyric came from?

PS: No reflection on the wisdom of your post, Coyote. I agree with you 100%
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Old 08-19-07, 11:23 AM   #8
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jppe

Its nothing to worry about,, just a phase you are going through.
I try to vary my cycling from road . MTB, time trials,audax, expedition etc.

all different... but all on bikes and so I get a buzz from each one

Take a look at what YOU want,stand back for a while.

when you are ready, and only then .......get out there and ride.

george
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Old 08-19-07, 11:52 AM   #9
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I've never had that much focus to lose, but it seems to me that you have been performing at a very high level and accomplishing quite a lot. I don't expect you'll lose that by relaxing for a while.
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Old 08-19-07, 01:17 PM   #10
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>>> 57 channels and nuthin' on

That would be a little bit of Bruce Springsteen.
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Old 08-19-07, 01:33 PM   #11
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Every year and I train for a particular ride that is normally in the Summer. Do the ride and afterwards- I don't exactly lose interest in cycling but after the months of training for the event- I want to slow down a bit. In fact- Have to slow down a bit. I just go out and ride- Maybe a 20 miler for a coffee- or a 60 mile just to see if I have lost as much as I think I have.

I like those Calm rides after the event- I like the event and the few months hard traininhg before it. What I do not like is the realisation about November that I have lost a bit of fitness by not pushing myself on the rides and Until Christamas- I am going to suffer to get the fitness up.

Mind you- with the amount of Garden construction I will have this winter- I might be getting strong enough without riding.
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Old 08-19-07, 01:45 PM   #12
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Mind you- with the amount of Garden construction I will have this winter- I might be getting strong enough without riding.
I did some heavy gardening last weekend and noticed a lot of improvement in my strength and stamina, brought about by cycling. I also noticed sore muscles the next day that I do not feel after cycling or walking. Each one of those activities uses different muscles in different ways.
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Old 08-20-07, 06:05 AM   #13
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I think the weather has contributed to your problems, it has for me. It has been very hot, humid and windy this year. I no longer do long ride on Sat/Sun and just focus on hard 20mi rides Mon-Fri. The wind has made these rides harder than I like and there a times when I certainly don't feel like going out and fighting it. A couple months to go and winter will bring in cooler temps and less humidity which I think will make any riding more enjoyable. Sorry for the folks up North but I am really looking forward to Oct/Nov
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Old 08-20-07, 06:26 AM   #14
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Every year and I train for a particular ride that is normally in the Summer. Do the ride and afterwards- I don't exactly lose interest in cycling but after the months of training for the event- I want to slow down a bit. In fact- Have to slow down a bit. I just go out and ride- Maybe a 20 miler for a coffee- or a 60 mile just to see if I have lost as much as I think I have.
+1

I was riding 5 days a week prior to the two week long tours and putting in 150+ miles each week. Now that they are over I'm content to ride those shorter rides or participate in a one day event. I haven't lost my interest in cycling but I've changed my focus.
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Old 08-20-07, 07:15 AM   #15
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On the other hand, maybe your interests are just changing a little. You express an interest in more easy paced rides - maybe touring would be an alternative.

When I was in my 20s/30s I was an avid SCUBA diver - wrecks, ice dives, night dives, whenever I could. Then I switched over to downhill skiing and that crowded out the winter diving trips. In my late 30s, and 40s, windsurfing took over and crowded everything out. In my 50s, I regained an interest in diving and recently (58) cycling is ascendant. I have three sailboards sitting idle in my garage at my weekend house on the water and it amazes me that I just don't feel up for rigging the sails and going out - I would rather jump on my bike. Go figure.
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Old 08-20-07, 08:16 AM   #16
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Some of the 50+ participants are really tough on themselves - that means YOU, jppe!

Just relax a bit. Why do we need FOCUS in our recreational activities? It sounds like a corporate seminar on efficiency and production. Maybe the FOCUS can be to have NO focus?

Do we really need "cycling performance indicators?"

"PR's?"

When you get hit with stresses from ALL directions, let your recreational activities be a HAVEN from stress, not an additional stress factor. Please!

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Old 08-20-07, 08:31 AM   #17
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When you get hit with stresses from ALL directions, let your recreational activities be a HAVEN from stress, not an additional stress factor.
+1
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Old 08-20-07, 09:03 AM   #18
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I do this for fun. If I wanted to constantly monitor my performance I'd hire by boss!
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Old 08-20-07, 09:23 AM   #19
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I don't know Sheldon Brown but I am guessing the man doesn't necessarily ride a whole lot of races nor training miles. But the one virtue he has is the willingness to share his knowledge and his generosity. So after all these years of riding, we can be like him in this respect.

The easiest time to do this is when you see a cyclist with a flat tire and needs help but may not necessarily admit it. A guy thing. Another way is to keep a floor pump in the trunk of your car in case you see a rider in need. The next time there's a big sale at the bike store, stock up on tubes knowing that you will give some away, expecting nothing in return.
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Old 08-20-07, 12:17 PM   #20
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Good ideas, GC. I'm going to take your advice.
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Old 08-20-07, 03:17 PM   #21
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Thank you for all your insights and "wisdom". Just what I'd come to expect from the group at large. Lots of very good things to think and work through.

And Dnvr-I guess you made me realize that whether it is cycling, golf or whatever, I certainly have a tendency to set some goals-implicit or otherwise. It would appear that cycling started as a hobby and evolved into something else. Plus, a lot of the folks I have evolved into riding with pretty regularly and have enjoyed getting to know are licensed USCF riders that race. While I just enjoy doing fast recreational rides and getting very fit, I suspect their mentality has rubbed off some over time. Good, bad or indifferent it's a good time to sit back and figure out where I want to head with this stuff......

Thanks again!
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Old 08-20-07, 08:47 PM   #22
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I seem to have reached a point where I need to back off, too. The first week of July, I did two 200k rides. On the second one, I experienced some kind of bronchial spasm, couldn't take a deep breath, and was barely able to finish the ride.

I recovered pretty quickly, and ended up with 825 miles in July, the most I've done in a month, and 208 miles the first week of August. After an early August 200k, I caught a summer cold which quickly turned into bronchitis, and I still have it. I'm guessing that so many miles in the polluted summer air around here is more than my lungs are up to.

I have scaled way back while I recover (except for the Hotter 'N Hell Hundred, which I'm still going to tackle, Saturday), and am re-thinking my riding schedule. Neighborhood and club rides during the week, then club rides, pay rides, and brevets on the weekend may be a bit too much. I may end up cutting back closer to the 100 miles a week I was doing last year.

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Old 08-21-07, 08:32 AM   #23
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We had a club meeting last night where we picked up clothing and listened to a USCF coach lecture us on setting training goals for the 2008 season. This is the time to review the power numbers and or results and training logs and to set objectives to work on weaknesses that kept you from accomplishing what you wanted. He suggests for his athletes a 10 to 15% training load increase each year. That is measured in joules of energy or training time times heart rate zone. He also stressed that stress is acts as a training load and reduces the amount of training the body can maintain.
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